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HOW GHANA MUST GO IN NIGERIA POLITICS

By: Che Oyinatumba

Published September 22nd, 2010

For non initiates, Ghana Must Go is euphemism describing all manner of underhand activities by a politician most particularly bribe taking or giving. Originally Ghana Must Go was a chequered raffia bag used by Ghanaian refugees to pack their belongings in the 80s as they fled Nigeria in the wake of military coup. Due to hardship, Ghanaians came to Nigeria in quest of better economic fortunes. Things were so hard for these refugees that all their belongings could comfortably enter on bag-Ghana Must Go.

Ghana Must Go entered the political lexicon of Nigeria under the Obasanjo’s administration (1999-2007). During this era, the raffia bag was used to stuff money meant to buy delegates at any given party’s convention. This common knowledge was denied by all involved until it was revealed at the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly that the presidency had brought money in Ghana Must Go bags to influence the undemocratic removal of the leadership of the House.

 

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The use of Ghana Must Go became expedient because the democratic structures are not in place and the hunger in the land knows no definition. The Nigerian electorate fully aware that there is no democratic structure to secure dividends of democracy for him goes for the Ghana Must Go from a politician in exchange for his vote. He does not have patience for the non-arrival of the pre-election promises; after all, a breast in mouth is worth more than two in the bra.

To arrest this increasing size of Ghana Must Go, all those complaining should make sure that political structures are strengthened. This strengthening must start from the intra party activities. Every political party should develop party discipline and implement it to the letter. This party discipline must be anchored on a people oriented manifesto of which any erring member would be disciplined in line with the constitution of the party. When this is done, the electorates would have confidence that there is a certain level of behaviour expected from any politician elected on the platform of Party A or B.

Another means of abolishing Ghana Must Go, is constant education of the electorate. This education should not be left for only 4 months to election or during the Election tribunal when allegations of bribe are pleaded as grounds to nullify election. The electorate must be made to understand that exchanging their voters’ card for Ghana Must Go robs him the right to criticise or complain when the dividends of democracy fail to arrive his constituency.

The ultimate way to deflate the size of Ghana Must Go, is to make political offices unattractive. If this is done, no politician except those with genuine intension to serve his people would have an investor’s mentality towards election. I dare suggest that elective offices should not be a full time job. Elected officers, except the President, Governor, Leaders of the National /State Assembly, should only meet when there is need and they should return to their full time job. This will not only reduce the cost of running government, it will also make the politician, especially the lawmakers to have constant interaction with his constituency rather than getting them employed by the government for 4 years secluded in Government quarters with minimal contact with the electorates. It is this full employment by the government that makes them to enact laws that one wonders for whom it was meant for; whether the sponsor of the bill actually lives in Nigeria.

Let no one tell me it is not so in advanced democracies. These advanced democracies have structures which had been developed over the years.




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